The change in seasons always inspires us to make some updates to our home. From throws and blankets to ambient lighting, there are lots of ways to make a space feel warm and cosy as the nights draw in.
Here, we speak to Carole King, blogger at Dear Designer, about her interior style and insider tips for the year ahead.
How did you get into interior design?
I've always been into interior design, even back in the day when I didn't realise it could be a career choice. Then, as often happens after a big upheaval, I reached a crossroads in my life and decided to turn my passion for interiors into something more. I was newly separated, living with my son and struggling with finances, but I cut down my working hours and enrolled on a design course that would literally change my life.
<img class="img-responsive" src="upload/bloglib-carolekinglanding61.jpg" alt="Carole King Landing Image" align="left" width="320px" style="padding-right: 40px; padding-bottom: 20px;">
What inspired you to start your blog?
I loved the course and when it was over I threw myself into work experience. I still had to continue with my old job part-time just to make ends meet. I soon grew tired of working for other designers. Not that it wasn't great experience, but working part-time meant I really didn’t get enough responsibility or anything meaty to work on.
I started to notice interior design blogs when the designer I was working for was featured on Desire to Inspire. I'd read as many as I could, and it soon dawned on me that I could do this myself as a way to unleash my creativity without restraints.
How would you describe your interior style?
I love impact and contrast. I can see the beauty in neutral spaces but I'm more drawn to bold wallpaper designs and dense colours. I love the current trends for tropical and botanical prints and I'm currently working my way around the house painting furniture black - I love the drama of it! I also love texture and quirky accessories. I'd like to think of my style as lush, luxurious and liveable.
Your blog inspires audiences across the world, but where do you get your inspiration from?
It comes from lots of places: magazines, Pinterest, Instagram, other blogs, my travels. But I'm also fortunate that I see new products and launches before they get to the high street. There's no escaping the fact that this does influence my choices.
<img class="img-responsive" src="upload/bloglib-carolekingbedroom478.jpg" alt="Carole King Bedroom" align="right" width="350px" style="padding-left: 40px; padding-bottom: 20px;">
Which is your favourite room to work with?
I'd have to say the bedroom. It's the one room in the house where you can live out your dreams without compromise. It doesn't have to please other family members (well, maybe your partner), and you can make choices that really reflect your personal style. It's also so easy to make that all important impact in this room. The bed is the natural central point of the room, but you can also create smaller features around dressing tables and other furniture.
What are your three best tips for anyone wanting to breathe some new life into their home?
A coat of paint is the easiest change and it also makes the biggest impact. You can make a room cosier with dark paint, or cool it all down with a neutral colour. It's relatively inexpensive to do, you can do it yourself, and you can always change it again if you decide it's not for you.
New soft furnishings are an even quicker way to freshen a room. A few new cushions, a throw and maybe a new lampshade will certainly breathe new life. Add a couple of new prints to existing frames and you will be amazed at the difference.
If the budget runs to it I'd always recommend new flooring. Carpet isn't expensive and it can make a room look and feel ten times better. Changing carpet for one of the new vinyl's on the market will completely change the feel of the room.
Are there any essential pieces you feel no home should be without?
A comfortable sofa and bed, table lamps (at least three per room, they provide a much better ambient light than the overhead light or spots), rugs (rooms just feel cold without them), and art on the walls or any other personal items that add personality to a space.
Do you have any trend predictions for the year ahead?
I'm seeing lots of navy blue. Even in kitchens. When people start to invest in big-ticket items in a particular colour, you can bet it's here to stay.
Wallpaper seems to be getting bolder and bolder. We've had tropical plants and botanical prints for some time but animals are starting to burst onto the scene in a big way.
As trends come and go in in ever decreasing circles there's a couple that are re-emerging. Art deco is making a comeback with velvet upholstery, fringing, geometric patterns and lots of metallics. But also the seventies are being revisited with lots of rattan furniture, crochet wall hangings and an abundance of house plants.
If you want to immerse yourself in indoor greenery but aren’t sure where to begin, take a look at our selection of artificial plants including monstera and cacti and to get some inspiration.Shop all artificial plants